COVID-19: A First Year Teacher Perspective


Kathryn Getty at #KDPconvo19

Kathyrn Getty is a first year educator in New Jersey and a recent graduate of Kean University. She joined the Delta Rho Chapter of KDP in April 2018.

The 2019-2020 school year is my first year of professional teaching.

Going into my first year of teaching, fresh out of college, I was a mix of emotions.

I knew it was going to be difficult and that it was going to be a learning experience.

However, I never expected my first year of teaching to include a pandemic, resulting in remote learning.

Being a first grade teacher in an urban community, I have students who cannot readily access a tablet or computer and those who do not have internet.

The practicality of using a platform such as Google Classroom just wasn’t feasible for our demographic of students.

So, we spent hours upon hours printing packets that contained two weeks’ worth of instruction for ELA, math, science, and social studies.

The lack of printers in the building proved to be a huge issue.

In order for other grade levels to print out their materials, I volunteered to head to Office Depot and print the remainder of the packets that we were unable to complete at the school. Thank goodness, I had the KDP discount. Because of that, I saved $364.83!

The day before remote instruction began, parents had the entire day to come in and pick up their child’s materials.

Their materials consisted of two packets from the lead teacher, each consisting of one week’s work. In addition to that, work was also sent home for specials and my five gifted and talented students, and my seven ELLs were provided supplemental materials from the ELL teacher. Once the students had everything they needed, remote instruction was ready to begin on March 18th.

My main source of communication with the parents is Class Dojo, an application that parents can download on their smartphone or use on the computer. On Class Dojo I am able to post reminders, direct-message parents, and award points to students as an incentive. For weeks one and two, I recorded the students’ attendance if they answered a question I asked about their work for that day on their Class Dojo portfolio. In addition to Class Dojo, I also created an account with Splash Learn for students to get supplemental math practice, and I have been assigning students reading assignments through Raz-Kids.

One word that would describe my remote-learning experience is flexibility.

Many parents are essential workers and are unable to work with their children or contact me during the day. As a grade-level team, we decided to have the attendance question due by 9:00PM in order to accommodate those parents.

I have noticed that empathizing with the parents and remaining in constant communication helps put them at ease and allows the remote learning process to run more smoothly.

Most recently, our administration has told us to begin running Zoom sessions so that we can interact with our students and teach/answer questions in real time.

Being able to interact with my students has made me feel like a teacher again.

This situation is not ideal; however, I have learned more about adaptability and patience than I ever thought I would.

To know that others are dealing with the same scenario has shown me just how supportive and connected the teaching community is.


Members of the Delta Rho Chapter with Joe “Mr. D” Dombrowski at #KDPconvo19

The Delta Rho chapter of KDP has begun a weekly “teachers lounge,” where officers and members log into Zoom to talk about our successes, struggles, ask for advice, and socialize “face to face”.

My favorite part about KDP has always been the connections and closeness of our chapter. A pandemic has not stopped us from socializing appropriately or growing as professionals. Even though we do not know when this pandemic will end, I am put at ease knowing that I have the support of my co-workers and Delta Rho chapter.

When we return to the classroom, I am confident that this whole experience will have made me a better teacher.

February is Leadership Month

Leadership development is a top priority for many organizations, and that’s why it is a pleasure to highlight February as the first KDP Leadership Month. There are many events planned for Leadership Month to build our members’ potential to be teacher leaders, including regional iLead events, Teach to Lead programs and summits, and travel scholarships with People to People.

In honor of Leadership Month members of the Chapter Services team wanted to share their favorite quotes on leadership to encourage you in your teaching journey.

Katie Heath“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” –Ronald Reagan

Katie Heath, Northeast Regional Chapter Coordinator

Rachel Gurley“The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on.”–Walter Lippmann

Rachel Gurley, Chapter Operations Coordinator

Thom Ulmet“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou

Thomas Ulmet, Midwest Regional Chapter Coordinator

Laura Perkins“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” –John Quincy Adams

Laura Perkins, Southeast Regional Chapter Coordinator

Chris Beaman“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” –John C. Maxwell

As a teacher, are you in your role because it’s just a great position to have, or is it because influencing the lives of children in your community is your passion?  While it can be both, we know that you are dedicated to teaching because of your passion for others, and that is what makes YOU a great leader of today.  It’s time for the great leaders of the world—our teachers and KDP members—to stand together and continue to positively influence the lives of our children for the sake of humanity.  We cannot thank you enough for the passion you bring to the field and the daily impact that you have.

Chris Beaman, Assistant Director of Chapter Services and Membership

At KDP we believe every member is a leader. Use February as an opportunity to re-focus your chapter’s executive officers or build on your personal skills. How could you better develop your skills during KDP Leadership Month?

Need Help Preventing Bullying?

Sally Rushmore edits the New Teacher Advocate. She formerly taught secondary science and computer applications at a community college.

stop-bullyOctober is Bullying Prevention Month. Bullying can occur during or outside of school hours. While most reported bullying happens in the school building, a significant percentage also happens in places like on the playground or the bus. It can also happen travelling to or from school, in the youth’s neighborhood, or on the Internet.

According to, over 77 percent of students have been bullied verbally, mentally, and physically. Each day about 160,000 students miss school because of bullying or because of their fear of being bullied. The sad fact is that every 7 minutes a child is bullied on the playground. Adult intervention is often 4%, peer or classmate intervention is 11%, and no intervention is 85%. This means that is more common for these incidents to be ignored.

School bullying prevention programs are known to decrease bullying in schools up to 25 percent. About 28 percent of students in grades 6-12 experience some form of bullying according to bullying statistics 2013. Over 30 percent of students admit to bullying classmates and peers. When an adult intervenes in a bullying incident, it stops within 10 seconds or more about 57 percent of the time. This is why addressing the problem often cuts down on bullying incidents that happen daily and rescues many students from being bullied.

Attend this 60−75-minute webinar live on Tuesday, Oct. 14 at 8 PM Eastern time as individuals or as a group or access the webcast of it after Oct. 15 to use in a group setting in our Resources Catalog:

“Preparing a Bully-Free Environment” presented by Dr. Blythe Hinitz, a member of the Expert Advisory Group to the New Jersey Coalition for Bullying Awareness and Prevention and co-author of The Anti-Bullying and Teasing Book.

Through planning, preparation, implementation and assessment of developmentally appropriate arrangement of classroom space and materials; and utilization of activities, lessons and units that incorporate anti-HIBT into existing curriculum mandates for early childhood and elementary level students.

What attendees will learn:

  • Basic definitions needed in anti- harassment, intimidation, bullying, and teasing (HIBT) work.
  • Brief review of relevant research results to demonstrate the breadth and depth of the field.
  • Principles for preparation of developmentally appropriate physical, cognitive, and affective environments.
  • Selected resources to assist in answering the question, “What do I do on Monday?” (and beyond).

Audience should include all teaching personnel, guidance personnel, supervisors, administrators, and anyone who works with students. We hope you can join us!

Why $19.11?

Laura Stelsel is director of marketing and communications for Kappa Delta Pi.

window cling

Donate $19.11 and receive this window cling.

Are you a KDP donor? If not, this is the perfect month to start. We’re celebrating Founders Day (March 8, 1911) all month long, and you can join us by donating $19.11 to support KDP educators. If you make a one-time donation of $19.11, you’ll get a special thank you in the mail: a KDP window cling.

At headquarters, I’m proud to say that nearly every staff member contributes annually. Why? Because we see and hear directly how important these funds are to the members who receive them. Members like Autumn Proctor, recipient of the Harold D. Drummond Scholarship and KDP/ATE National Student Teacher of the Year:

“Kappa Delta Pi and my work with the organization is what made me stand out from 100 other applicants. Kappa Delta Pi is what helped me to believe in myself and helped me to put my best foot forward. The recent scholarship will help me to create the best learning environment for my new students and to help pay off student loans. Thank you Kappa Delta Pi for helping me become a professional educator and for making my dreams become a reality.”

You can read other recipient testimonials on the KDP website.

Your KDP funds support:

There is no donation too small—begin your contribution and get your special window cling today. Support the mission, show your KDP pride!

Connecting at Convocation

Jane Farino is a graduate student at Loyola University Maryland and a substitute teacher. She has been a KDP member since 2011, initiating at Sigma Tau Chapter at Mount St. Mary College.

Jane Farino

KDP member Jane Farino

Two years ago I found myself walking into a room in Indianapolis filled with people from across the country, even the world.  I found myself surrounded by people so individually different, yet, amazingly, connected by one common goal, to be the best teacher they can be.  There were teachers who were brand new, seasoned teachers nearing retirement, and professionals eager to share tips, ideas, and researched based practices.  There were also college students, like me, nervous about stepping into the teaching world and ready to get answers to their questions.

Today, I am a graduate student subbing during the day for a private school, and taking a full time course schedule at Loyola University Maryland at night to get my Master’s degree and certification as a K-12 Reading Specialist.  Since last time I went to Convo, I have grown so much as an educator, but I still face new teaching struggles every day.  I am working on adjusting to work as a substitute teacher, balancing classroom order with being “fun,” and wondering about how I will do as a first year teacher when I eventually do get a class of my own.  Although most days go smoothly and are enjoyable, a few not-so-awesome days, and lack of a full time job had me questioning my confidence as a teacher.

Feeling like I need to refresh, recharge, and revamp my teaching skills, I saw information for the next Convo coming up in Dallas and knew I had to do whatever it took to get myself there.  I applied for a graduate student stipend, and miraculously, was awarded it!  The stipend from KDP will allow me to fly from Maryland to Dallas, register for Convo, and stay at the hotel without stressing my budget.  I have a sense of duty feeling like KDP is investing in me as a future educator. 

During my undergraduate years, I was membership chair for chapter Sigma Tau Chapter.  Our team of officers worked hard to create strong chapter unity, and was granted the ACE award.  Going to Dallas will allow me to see the award be presented to Sigma Tau’s counselor and president.  I am so proud of what our chapter has done, and continues to do.

Although I am taking education-geared classes now, the relevant workshops, exchange of fresh ideas and opportunity to interact with teachers from all areas is a one of a kind experience that only Convocation can offer.  It allows me to see myself less as an individual in this professional journey but as a part of a larger community of teachers.  You can think of it as a big KDP family reunion.

I can’t wait to get to Dallas; I hope to see you there!

“I challenge you to attend KDP Convo and see how it can help influence your career!”

Clinton Smith is the assistant professor of special education at the University of Tennessee at Martin. He also serves as one of the co-counselors at KDP’s Alpha Epsilon Epsilon Chapter at UT-Martin.

Clinton Over The Edge

KDP member and co-counselor Clinton Smith rappelling down the I-Bank Tower in Memphis. While participants won’t be rappelling this year at Convo, we assure you, the experience is just as exhilarating!

I became a member of KDP in 2006 while working through my Masters program at the University of Memphis. I was a non-traditional student returning to the classroom to work on my masters in special education. I became president of Lambda Gamma Chapter in early 2007. Our advisor, Dr. John Petry (former KDP President), encouraged me to get more involved by attending Convo.

KDP Convo is a great way to meet and connect with educators and other professionals from across the country. I first attended KDP Convo in 2007. All I can say is “WOW!” What a great experience! I had an opportunity to go some amazing sessions, learned ways to grow our chapter, met some great people, and heard the KDP Laureates speak.

I also was challenged and encouraged to become involved at a national level. I volunteered to serve on the KDP Communications Committee. Over the years since my first Convo, I have become more involved in KDP by serving as a committee chair of the Constitution & Bylaws Committee, serving on the Leadership/Nominations Committee, serving as a state delegate, and had the opportunity to lead workshops at the 2009 & 2011 Convos. I will be leading  two workshops for the 2013 Convo – come to my sessions!

At previous Convos, I attended several sessions to help me finish my doctorate. I attended a session on writing a dissertation and learned so much about the dissertation process.  Because I was encouraged by sessions on writing and publishing at KPD Convo, I have two published articles and an upcoming book chapter.

Attending KDP Convo offers you a great opportunity to be challenged, to learn new ideas, and to meet a bunch of great people who can help you in your professional career. I find myself constantly interacting with people I have met from the past Convos on Facebook and through email. We share ideas, laugh at each other’s posts, and even encourage one another through those rough days.

I have had a great experience with Kappa Delta Pi since joining in 2006 as a student and now as a college professor and KDP Counselor for our local chapter. I challenge you to attend KDP Convo this Oct. 24-26 in Dallas, and see how it can help influence your career, develop your leadership potential, and expand your network of teaching professionals. See you at Convo!